If you’ve ever called a plumber to unclog a drain, you know it’s not cheap. Certainly there are times when the clogged drain is beyond a quick do-it-yourself solution, requiring the skills of a professional. But many times, according to my inbox, a simple gadget and a modicum of know-how can avoid an expensive house call.
DRAIN CLEANING TOOL. I read the tip from the reader who used a bamboo skewer to remove hair from the drain. Sounds OK, but there is actually a tool made just for this task. It’s very cheap—about $3. It has a little handle at the top, is about 18-inches long and has a fish-hook type of end. You simply push it into the drain, snag the tangled hair and fish it right back out. My granddaughter was constantly calling her apartment manager to get her bathroom drains unplugged, plus using lots of drain cleaner. I sent her one of these little gadgets and she has been drain-clear ever since. Diana
Note: The tool Diana refers to is a Zip-it Drain Snake Cleaner. Check the plumbing aisle of your local hardware store. Or get a pack of three for about $7 online. I did, used it to check every drain in the house and wow, this thing is amazing. -mh
GINGER PRESS. Instead of using a knife to mince fresh ginger, I put it in my garlic press. It works really well! Kate
NO-ODOR FREEZER BAGS. Make sure when freezing chopped onions to use freezer bags, not just zip-type bags. That way the freezer and everything in it won’t smell like onions! Paula
HAIR SPRAY STAIN REMOVER. Inexpensive hairspray like Aqua Net, will remove ballpoint ink and felt tip marker ink from clothing (and just about anything else as well). It’s also a great grease and oil remover from clothing because the cheap stuff is mostly acetone. BGW
NEVER LOSE THE REMOTE AGAIN. The reason most of us misplace the remote controls to our TVs and other electronic devices is they don’t have a specific place to go. They might end up on a coffee table, an end table, slide behind the couch or, as I have experienced, right into a trash can to never be seen again. One person whose handiwork I find to be so clever, stuck his remote controls to a coffee table with hook and loop fasteners. Any fabric or craft store sells this stuff by the inch or in packages with the hook and loop fasteners outfitted with self-stick tape. His choice is black sticky-back VELCRO® Brand. He cuts off the amount of product he needs for the task at hand, removes the protective paper covering the sticky sides and affixes one side to the remote and the other to the table. It’s true: When a remote control device has a home, it’s more likely to go there regularly. Ron
SPECIAL SALES FOR TWINS. For those looking for less expensive options for outfitting little ones—especially twins—Mothers of Multiples groups hold sales where people can shop for twins, triplets, etc. Moms-to-Moms groups also have sales annually. My niece has twin boys and I’ve heard her talk about the clothing sales sponsored by these groups. Priscilla
DOLLAR STORE SHOPPING SPREE. One of my best birthday party ideas was an accident. I had not purchased anything for goody bags for my daughter’s friends so I took them to the dollar store and gave them each $2 to spend as they wished. The girls loved doing this and it was less expensive than buying the little party favors at the toy store. It became a tradition that everyone looked forward to each year. Penny
Question: Do you have a household tool that makes your life easier? Tell us about it in the comments section below.